Emma Ineson, the principal of Trinity College Bristol, told the story of the Welsh revival where many people were becoming Christians and lives were being transformed, and a young clergyman traveled to visit one of the villages where God was doing amazing things. He arrived at this train station and asked the guard on the platform “excuse me, but where is the revival happening?” To which the guard patted his heart and said (imagine a welsh accent) “under the buttons, ‘ere in my heart”.
It is actually quite a profound story, as I firmly believe that God is more into people than geographical locations.
It worries me how a certain flavour of Christian Ministry will fly halfway around the world to RECEIVE a blessing (Torronto, Pensacola or even Cwmbran) yet will we go half way across a street to BE a blessing.
The heart of revival is actually the human heart.
It was John Wesley’s Heart that was “strangely warmed” that night in Aldergate Street.
It was the heart of Ezekiel that God promised to change from a “heart of stone to a heart of flesh” and it was into this heart that the Lord promised to “put my Spirit in” (Ez.11:19 & Ez.36:26).
I think this was probably going through the mind of John Wimber when he said “Lord, send revival, start with me…”
Wimber’s idea was that unless his heart was changed by the in-filling of the Holy Spirit, he was a hindrance rather than a help to the revival cause, for the Lord to send Revival, he need to be in the right place.
It is a call for us all, if we want to see God move in power in our community and our nation, we need to allow God to move powerful in our hearts and lives too.
This is a scriptural theme, remember that great promise in 2 Chronicles (7:14) “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
Challenging passages, but I think it gives an insight into the human condition, the idea we want a move of God, but we don’t always want cost, change and challenge… Often our prayer is really saying: “God can you do it for us, and by the way please let it be nice and not messy at all!”.
Yet, God does not just want to work THROUGH us, he wants to work IN us too… and often this is challenging.
Often when God moves it is often challenging, uncomfortable and sometimes a bit messy, yet despite this, his ways are best, fruitful, the most loving in every circumstance and chooses to involve us in partnership work.
A great quote from Shane Claiborne “If you ask God to move a mountain, don’t be surprised when he gives you a shovel”.